Saturday, May 28, 2016


Yesterday morning, I woke to no hot water in my apartment.  Cold, cold, cold.  And no, washing in cold water is not fun or bracing.  I called building management and reported the problem.  A pleasant relief when I noticed that the hot water was back on about 3 p.m.  I thought that was the end of it.

This morning, I woke to no hot water in my apartment.  Cold, cold, cold.  I called building management about 9:15 a.m.  Since it's a weekend, I reached the after hours voice mail, chose the "emergency maintenance" option, left the required message, and waited for the call back which arrived about 5 minutes later.

The man with the kind of gravelly, wheezy voice did not give me his name.  He started with "I hate to have to tell you this, but...." and proceeded to say that we'd have cold water until sometime Tuesday, May 31 because "plumbers don't work on weekends." (Crock of shit. They work on weekends.) He went on to say that he'd called 30-40 plumbers (probably an exaggeration) last evening trying to find one.  He informed me in a professorial (i.e. condescending) voice that they'd had a plumber working on the issue all day yesterday until 9 p.m.  (Really? The hot water was on by 3 p.m.)  The plumber had told him that he could leave the water heater on and risk blowing up the building or leave us with cold water until Tuesday. (You mean, you knew this was going to happen?) The problem concerned the water flow into the building and into the water heater and required more work. (This didn't sound right to me, especially because of the kind of water heater it is and it had been working just fine.)  He apologized for not being able to do more about the cold water, but hey, plumbers don't work on weekends.

I've run into this kind of condescending, taking-me-for-a-stupid-ignorant-female treatment before.  To say it's offensive is an understatement.  To me, it speaks volumes about the man and his character.  I wondered if he was the same guy who gave me a song-and-dance a couple years ago about about the baseboard heating system in the building. That same condescending "I know more about this than you do because I'm a man" voice and attitude.  I don't know any women who have not experienced this from men at some point in their adult lives.

In fact, there was a meme about it from Attn on Facebook recently. It showed examples of "mansplaining," the term coined for this kind of male behavior, and its hallmarks.  I do wonder if there's a "womansplaining" that's comparable, and maybe mansplaining is in reaction to it. Or not. Here's the Merriam-Webster definition: "Mansplaining is, at its core, a very specific thing. It's what occurs when a man talks condescendingly to someone (especially a woman) about something he has incomplete knowledge of, with the mistaken assumption that he knows more about it than the person he's talking to does."

This morning, after that mansplaining phone call about the hot water, I typed up an info sheet to post around the building so my neighbors would know what's going on including the mansplainer's "plumbers do not work on weekends" and his other comments.  I included building management's phone number in case anyone had any questions or concerns.

About 12:15 p.m., my phone rang. The guy said, "Linda?"  Not my name. And he knew it, too.  I recognized his voice -- the guy I talked to this morning.  He said his name this time, then informed me that they'd been working on the hot water problem for 2 days (not even) and they had a plumber on the premises working on it now.  They hoped to have the issue resolved this afternoon.  When I went down to the mailboxes about 3 hours later, the info sheet I'd posted on the front door was gone, but the one on the foyer mirror had a note scrawled at the bottom: "Sat. 12:00 Met with plumber We're working on it."

So, I guess he learned that plumbers DO work on weekends!  Surprise, surprise!

I knew that all along, folks, of course.  I know they charge more for work in evenings and weekends/holidays.  And it seems to me that leaving an entire apartment building without hot water for 3 days borders on negligence.  So, I wonder what exactly happened that turned the situation around, eh?  Did other tenants call building management and raise a ruckus?  Or did that mansplainer plan to have a plumber work on it today but decided to be a jerk to me?

Mansplaining: one scourge of modern communication. 


Daughter Number Three said...

So true. Have you read Rebecca Solnit's essay that was the source of the term?

Gina said...

I have not read Solnit's essay. I'm looking for it -- have you seen it online?

Daughter Number Three said...

Not sure... I think I first read it online. I have a copy of the short book of essays (Men Explain Things to Me) which includes it... will bring it along next time we see each other.

cheryl (clee') said...

Your post was the most hilarious to date! I have my own horror stories of being a renter, which is why I turned to homeownership, which carries its own horrors. And mansplaining is something I have tried to point out to my brothers, to no avail, lol.

Gina said...

Thanks, Daughter Number Three! I need to find out more about Solnit. I've heard her name before but know little about her.

Gina said...

Hi, Cheryl! Thanks for your comment. Yeah, looking back on it, the whole situation was funny with that guy. He hadn't a clue what an idiot he was! LOL Gina